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Public Declarations of Love: On the Evolution of a Topos in Hollywood Romantic Comedy

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Magda Majewska

This talk focuses on a topos in Hollywood romantic comedies that has prevailed since the 1990s: the declaration of love, with which the romantic plot resolves, often takes place in a public space in front of a cheering crowd of strangers. By drawing on the insights of love sociology (in particular Niklas Luhmann), the talk proposes an interpretation of the topos of the public love declaration in light of the modern notion of privacy/intimacy and its relation to publicity as one that is both deeply embedded within the romantic comedy film genre and the notion of romantic love itself. While the public declaration of love, followed by its addressee’s reciprocal response, signifies a commitment to a shared future, it often remains open whether this future will involve marriage or not. Nevertheless, the intradiegetic public’s enthusiastic reaction to the final union by clapping and cheering suggests its investment in the idea (or even ideal) of romantic love and by implication in the continuity of a social order in which the monogamous couple bound by love – rather than by rational/economic interest – plays an integral part. More than just moments of a communal celebration of love in which the audience can participate, such scenes mark the sphere of intimate interaction as a matter of public concern and can be read as addressing the co-constitutive nature of the public and the intimate/private sphere

Dr. Magda Majewska ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für England- und Amerikastudien, Abt. Amerikanistik

Mittwoch, 16.11.2022
Beginn: 12:00
Ende: 14:00
IG 1.414
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